What It Means to be Forgiven

Blog & Mablog | 1/12/2019 | Douglas Wilson
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When we are forgiven for our sins, there are two fundamental aspects to this. First we are delivered, definitively, all at once, from the penalty of sin. Our sins and our lawless deeds God will remember no more. They are forgiven, meaning they won’t come up at all in the Day of Judgment. You need to think about this as though the angel of the Lord Himself was appointed as the foreman of your jury, and he entered the heavenly courtroom and read out the verdict. Pointing to the altar where Jesus sprinkled His own blood, he says, in a bright clear voice that the whole cosmos hears, “not guilty.” This is forgiveness proper.

Power - Sin - Break - Sin - Gal

But we are also delivered from the power of sin. There is a stark break with what might be called reigning sin (Gal. 5:24), which is followed by a progressive and unrelenting campaign against all remaining sin (Col. 3:5; Rom. 8:13). This is progressive; it is our ongoing sanctification. But if you think of this primarily as moral improvement, it is very easy to slip into a “peddle harder” approach to your sanctification, which is deadly. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now going to finish in the flesh? An ongoing experience of grace—and a corresponding awareness that your sins are forgiven—is going to keep your growth in Christ fresh. When someone is not really growing in grace, one of the problems is forgetfulness of forgiveness. “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Peter 1:9, ESV).


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